Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways To Connect

Bryan Cereijo / WAER News

Syracuse Common Councilors Monday made their position on the future of I-81 clear…and official.  They approved a non-binding resolution asking the governor, state legislature, and the state DOT to re-design and re-construct the I-81 viaduct into a street level boulevard.  

  Council President Van Robinson has advocated for its removal years before the state began planning for its future.  Now he’s hoping others will follow the council’s lead…

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse was one of 20 locations statewide Friday where members of Governor Cuomo’s cabinet delivered the his state of the state message and budget agenda.  Commissioner of the state’s department of civil service Jerry Boone made his presentation at the SUNY Educational Opportunity Center.    He echoed much of Cuomo’s message on education reform, including some staggering numbers about failing schools.  He says average statewide graduation rate is just over 76%; but it’s only around 47% in failing schools…

SUNY EOC Director  Penix applauds the governor’s efforts to improve graduation rates.  Still, he says they’re ready to serve as a pipeline for graduates and drop-outs who need workforce or college readiness.

Commissioner Boone says the governor takes pride in sharp rise in the hiring of minority and women owned businesses over the past few years…from 10 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2014…

Stephen Nessen / WNYC.org

One of the most influential men in Albany is accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes and covering it up as legitimate income.  The federal complaint against Speaker Silver accuses the Assembly leader of mail fraud and the federal crime of theft of honest services, saying he engaged in a scheme since the year 2000 to use the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself over 6 million dollars, including $700,000 in bribes and kickbacks  masked as legitimate income earned by Silver as a private lawyer.

Gov. Cuomo's facebook page

Governor Cuomo delivered his joint State of the State and budget message, proposing a $141.6 billion spending plan that in part sets up a show down with teachers and education advocates. The governor wants 100 more charter schools and an overhaul of teacher evaluations, which he says are “baloney”, because virtually all teachers are rated as adequate.“98% of the teachers rated effective,” Cuomo said. “Who are we kidding, my friends?”

Provided photo / Office of Sen. DeFrancisco

Central New Yorkers came through once again to help soldiers overseas keep in touch with their loved ones.  Senator John DeFrancisco's 7th annual Cell Phones for Soldiers collection drive netted more than 1,100 used mobile phones.  

  The national non-profit program recycles the devices and  uses the proceeds to purchase international calling cards for deployed troops.  One recycled phone provides an average of 30 minutes of talk time.  That means this year's collection will give troops roughly 33,000 minutes of free calling card time.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

It looks like an abandoned gas station at a busy crossroads on the city’s far southeastern side will finally see some new life.  The former Mobil station at East Brighton Ave. and East Seneca Turnpike closed more than two years ago, and the city has been trying to redevelop the site.    But Finance Commissioner David Clifford says until now, a legal technicality got in the way…

Scott Willis / WAER News

About a dozen members of the Syracuse Peace Council, Green Party, and other groups braved the single digit temperatures Tuesday to urge President Obama to follow through on his promise to veto legislation that would extend the Keystone XL pipeline.    The Syracuse rally was one of many held around the U.S. and Canada, which called for a focus and investment in renewable energy.  Wayne Chauncey of Nedrow says extraction of fossil fuel from the soil is a waste of time…

Scott Willis

  

Senator Chuck Schumer urged the New York Jets to continue holding summer training camp workouts in Cortland, during a press conference on Monday at Syracuse University's Ensley Athletic Center.

SUNY Cortland has hosted training camp for the Jets since 2009, when then-head coach Rex Ryan moved it from Hofstra University on Long Island.  But the team recently fired Ryan as well as general manager, John Idzik. 

Schumer said there isn't any agreement in place for future training camps.

www.dec.ny.gov

A vitamin B deficiency among predator fish is now affecting steelhead trout returning to the tributaries of Lake Ontario, and is causing a surprisingly high adult mortality rate.    Section Head for Great Lakes Fisheries Steve LaPan says they first received reports from fishing guides on the Salmon River in Oswego County at the end of November…

Gary Varvel/Indianapolis Star / hereandnow.wbur.org

A free speech expert at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School says it’s a sad state of affairs when so many people are targeted at a satirical Paris newspaper for freedom of expression.  Roy Gutterman is director of S-U’s Tully Center for Free Speech.

"Unfortunately, it looks like it's a trend.  Extremists dealing with content they disagree with.  Violence is no way to answer rhetoric or offensive jokes or anything like that.  But, that seems to be our world today."

 He says most attacks on the press are more isolated kidnappings or killings of one or two reporters, but very rarely a mass murder.  Gutterman says it could have a chilling effect on journalists and cartoonists across the globe.

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